Author: Tracy

Guest Review: Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy

Posted October 12, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Her Night with the Duke by Diana QuincyReviewer: Tracy
Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy
Series: Clandestine Affairs #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars


Desire knows no reason...

When Lady Delilah Chambers finds herself stranded at a country inn on a rain-swept evening, she’s forced to fend off a group of ruffians with the help of a handsome gentleman. Irresistibly drawn to each other, Leela and the stranger spend one reckless night in each others’ arms—and then go their separate ways. But the very next day Leela receives the shock of her life when she meets the duke who is set on wedding her beloved stepdaughter.

When it finds two destined hearts...

One night isn’t enough with a woman as fierce, fiery, and brilliant as Leela. Elliot Townsend, Duke of Huntington, cannot believe his good fortune when their chance encounter leads to an unforgettable evening of passion. Yet Hunt’s luck runs out when he is introduced to his prospective mother-in-law. Dowagers aren’t supposed to look like this... 
Leela and Hunt are determined to keep each other at arm’s length, which should be easy enough for two intelligent adults with reputations to uphold. The problem is all logic is lost when it comes to a passion that refuses to be ignored.

Warning: This review contains small spoilers.

During a rainstorm both Leela and Elliot Townsend get stranded at a roadside inn. To save Leela from the unruly pub population, he offers to share his private parlor with her.  One thing leads to another and they end up spending a passionate night in the private parlor.  When Leela wakes up Elliot is gone but she can’t forget their wonderful night together.

Imagine Leela’s shock when she arrives at her former home (she a widowed Countess) and finds Elliot Townsend aka the Duke of Huntington there.  He’s there because he’s “almost” engaged to Leela’s 18 year old step-daughter.  Leela is completely taken with Hunt, but would do nothing to hurt her step-daughter, Tori, for any reason, so she makes every excuse to stay away from the duke.  When he infers that they should continue their affair, Leela declines and Hunt ends up asking Tori to marry him.

While Hunt is getting used to the idea of marrying Tori, she’s falling in love, but not with Hunt.  When their engagement ends, Leela is concerned for Hunt’s well-being and seeks him out.  He’s an ass to her, but they end up together. From there their relationship is off and on like a faucet, but eventually they get their HEA.

This book.  It was recommended as the next big thing, and supposedly very good.  Yeah, not my cuppa at all. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Leela.  She was brave, strong, independent, loyal, and she definitely knew her own mind.  Hunt, on the other hand, was an ass.  I’m sure I can come up with much stronger adjectives, but I’ll leave it at that.  He ruined the book for me.

Leela is the daughter of a Marquess and was born and raised in England.  Her mother was Levantine, which makes Leela half Levantine.  Of course, people see her as a heathen even though she’s as English as anyone else.  She is a Countess by marriage, but people sometimes still treat her like a servant before they find out she’s a Lady.  She loves traveling and has even written a travelogue and had it published, with wonderful results. She was really a great character and quite steadfast in her beliefs and desire to continue traveling, continue writing and live life on her terms.

Hunt was a man who was determined to be as unlike his dissolute older brother as possible.  When his brother died he decided that he would avoid scandal at all costs and marry a quiet, biddable woman to be his wife.  After spending the night with Leela he decided that he wanted her no matter what.  He was disappointed when she said no and almost to spite her he got engaged to her step-daughter.  When the engagement ended, he was a complete jerk to Leela time and again.  He made me so mad at times!  I don’t think I’ve disliked a hero this much in years.

While I didn’t mind Quincy’s writing, and as I’ve said, I really enjoyed Leela, the overall book was not to my liking.  It was a bit all over the place and irritated me more often than not.  I think I’m in the minority in my feelings for this book so you probably should make up your own mind about it.  That said I was intrigued by Hunt’s friend Griff whose parents were murdered while he slept in the same house and everyone believes that he killed them.  I’m pretty sure his book is next in this series and I will definitely pick that one up when it’s released.

Rating: 2.75/3 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Champion of Her Heart by Juniper Kerry

Posted October 5, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Champion of Her Heart by Juniper KerryReviewer: Tracy
Champion of Her Heart by Juniper Kerry
Series: Warriors of the Augur Nebula #1
Publisher: Scary Octopus Press
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating 1st person
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 227
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Smart-as-a-whip Callie has a doctorate in Alien Studies. Unfortunately, her grant money has run out, and with it, her rent money. Desperate for a job, she turns to her high-power father, who has an idea: he will appoint her as the liaison for the Xalke - a race of aliens looking for breeding partners. With his daughter in charge of introductions, Grant Holland knows he can find a way to build new business partnerships. Callie is willing to make connections for her father. ...That is, until she meets Prince Dek. Now, the idea of introducing him to beautiful women makes her stomach hurt.

Dek has been sent to Earth with a clear purpose: find female volunteers and bring them back to his planet to breed. Unlike some of his fellow princes, Dek isn't against the humans, nor is he against babies. When he sees Callie, he knows right away that she is the woman for him. But for some reason, Callie resists. Though she seems to melt when he touches her, she also keeps pushing him into another woman’s arms. Dek has only a week before he must return to his home; can he win her heart in time?

Champion of Her Heart is the fifth book in the Warriors of the Augur Nebula series by Juniper Kerry. It is a steamy romance, featuring inter-species pair-bonding, love at first sight, and a guaranteed happy ending.

Callie has finished her PhD in Alien Studies as she lives in a world where Aliens are friends of Earth.  Certain aliens (the Sarta) have been on Earth for years and have started factories and stripped the Earth of its resources.  Why would we want to continue being friends with them? Not only are they friends, but Earth’s governments go a bit far in keeping them happy, obviously. One of the ways they are doing that is allowing representatives of the Denne race from the planet Beshtast to come and collect human women who would like to move to their planet and breed with them.  All voluntarily, of course.

The Denne have discovered that human woman are compatible with them (see books 1-4 to see how that came about), and they don’t die after giving birth, which is what has been happening for centuries with other alien races that are compatible.  One of the Denne Princes, Dek, has come to Earth with 4 warriors to choose women who would like to live on Beshtast and breed with the Denne.

Callie is the liaison between the Denne and the women who have volunteered.  She’s planned events to keep them busy, show them a bit of Washington D.C. and coordinated gatherings to meet pre-selected candidates. When Callie first meets the aliens as they step off the spaceship, she never imagines that she would be so drawn to Prince Dek.

Prince Dek is shocked when he steps onto Earth for the first time and finds his pair-bonded mate right in front of him.  He must convince her to come back to his homeworld with him, which is not going to be as easy as he thinks, as Callie has no intention of leaving Earth.

CoHH is book 5 in the Warriors of the Augur Nebula series.  It is a little different from books 1-4 as it takes place, for the most part, on Earth and not on Beshtast like the other 4 books.

In this book Callie and Prince Dek are pair-bonded – basically fated mates.  They feel a pull towards each other.  Dek knows what he’s feeling almost immediately, but obviously Callie is a little confused as to why she feels such a strong pull to this alien.  Dek is all that is strong, kind, thoughtful – I’ll admit, he’s a pretty good guy (considering I didn’t care for him all that much in previous books) but Callie keeps herself away from him.  She has no desire to leave Earth and she’s determined to find him a mate that’s not her.  This really confounded me, I must admit.  She’s down on her luck, no job, nowhere to live, her dad isn’t making anything easier even though he’s got pots of money, and she doesn’t want to go live with the prince who she’s falling in love with.  What is wrong with you?? Lol  Ok, I see that it’s scary to consider leaving the life you’ve known for something completely unknown, but really, why stay?

The author does a pretty good job of making us understand that Callie wants to feel needed and that she’s making a difference in her life and others. She also finds a solution to the problem, but I won’t tell you what that is. 😉

There are things about this series that I really like.  I like that it’s high on girl-power and that the human women in the books are trying to make the aliens see that they aren’t just things to breed, but people with emotions, needs, rights, etc.  That part is great.  On the other hand I find it a bit ridiculous that the aliens throughout the series are so well versed in just about everything, but they have no idea what tears are, or that little nub that is part of a female’s anatomy. But they know all about going down on a woman? Lol  Ok, whatever.

Overall I find the series entertaining.  The books are pretty short (200-250 pages) and are quick reads.  If you like sci-fi and alien romance, then this might be one for you to check out.  This does say that it’s a stand-alone, but I would recommend reading from book 1 to understand everything that’s going on.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath

Posted September 28, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Tracy
Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #6
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2), The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3), The Duchess in His Bed, The Earl Takes a Fancy
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She wants lessons in seduction

Althea Stanwick was a perfect lady destined to marry a wealthy lord, until betrayal left her family penniless. Though she’s lost friends, fortune, and respectability, Althea has gained a scandalous plan. If she can learn to seduce, she can obtain power over men and return to Society on her terms. She even has the perfect teacher in mind, a man whose sense of honor and dark good looks belie his nickname: Beast.

But desire like this can’t be taught

Benedict Trewlove may not know his parentage but he knows where he belongs—on the dark side of London, offering protection wherever it’s needed. Yet no woman has ever made such an outrageous request as this mysterious beauty. Althea is out of place amongst vice and sin, even if she offers a wicked temptation he can’t resist. But as the truth of his origin emerges at last, it will take a fierce, wild love to overcome their pasts.

Althea Stanwick is a Duke’s daughter working at a tavern in Whitechapel.  Strange?  Yes.  Unfortunately her father was tried and hung for plotting to assassinate the queen and then the title, lands and money were stripped from the family.  Althea and her two brothers were ostracized and ended up moving to Whitechapel, which is the only place they could afford.  After taking care of the house (hovel) for a while, Althea decided that she needed to contribute.  Her brother Griff was working the docks, but they needed more money to survive.

Althea ends up working at Gillie Trewlove’s tavern and is only there for a short time when she meets Gillie’s brother, Beast.  Beast (Benedict) is completely taken with Althea personally, but he also sees in her someone who was educated and trained in the finer arts.  He proposes that she become a tutor for the prostitutes that live in his building so that they may find other professions.  Althea agrees to his terms, after driving a hard bargain with her pay, but also requires that Beast teach her seduction so that she may become the most sought-after Courtesan in London.  Beast agrees, but he’s not sure he can complete his end of the bargain without losing his heart.

I’ve liked all of the books in this series, but we never really got to know Beast all that well.  He was pretty absent in the other books, and when we did hear about him there was very little info.  I loved getting to know this man and the huge heart he had in him. I won’t ruin the surprise of how he got where he is now, but he was just as determined as his siblings to make something of himself.  He wasn’t a brothel owner, nor did he run it, he just allowed the brothel to be in a building he owned so he could watch over the girls.  He never took a penny from them and made sure they were always taken care of.  In taking care of them, he helped them to learn other professions so that they could stop being prostitutes and make better lives for themselves.  I seriously loved that.  He deserved a good woman and one that appreciated him. Althea was that woman.

Althea was strong.  She had been through hell and never imagined that she’d be living and working in the dregs of London. (Althea’s brothers were in the story somewhat as they are trying to clear the family name but that was all hush-hush.)  All of her “friends” had turned their backs on her because they didn’t want to be near the daughter of a traitor.  She wasn’t the traitor, but she was treated as though she was.  It’s in the blood, right? eyeroll Though I couldn’t agree with her decision to become a courtesan, I did admire the fact that she had set a goal for herself and was working her way to accomplishing that.  She liked Beast from minute one, but never thought to fall in love with him.  Their slow burn romance was wonderful, and I so enjoyed watching these two characters fall in love.

Overall a great book and a wonderful end to the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-stars


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Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Tracy
Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #5
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Sapphire Flames, Diamond Fire, Wildfire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won't rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that's tearing their world apart.

Catalina Baylor is wrapping up an investigation for House Baylor Investigative Agency, her family’s PI firm, when she’s attacked by beasts she’s never seen before.  She discovers that they are a blend of mechanical and biological constructs that are controlled by magic, which aren’t supposed to be able to exist together.  Since she is the Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, she calls the Warden, Linus Duncan, and tells him.  He immediately instructs her to go to Montgomery Investigations, Inc. and take over a case.

The case involves the death of Prime Felix Morton from House Morton.  He was one of five Primes from different Houses that were working on a reclamation project. They were trying to reclaim The Pit, which is a flooded, swampy area in the middle of Houston.  Catalina must now interview the other four Primes to try to discover who killed Felix.  She certainly doesn’t expect to run into Alessandro Sagredo when she gets to MII, as she hasn’t seen him in six months, but that’s what happens.  Alessandro was hired by Lander Morton to kill whoever murdered his son, Felix, once the killer is exposed.

Catalina is determined to keep her distance from Alessandro, despite the fact that he’s resumed his bodyguard-of-the-Deputy-Warden duties.  Alessandro has discovered that a man that he has been after for years is now looking to kill Catalina, if not her whole family.  He’s going to keep Catalina safe if it kills him.

Catalina has to deal with her feelings for Alessandro, keeping herself and her family safe, dealing with her grandmother Tremaine who is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, and balancing her House duties as well as her Deputy duties.  It’s a lot, especially with finding out that there is something in the Pit that is sentient, and it plans on taking over Houston completely.

I love Ilona Andrews books.  Seriously, I’ve never read an IA that I didn’t like.  The world building alone rocks my world, then they add in some romance and boom, I’m hooked.  This book was another amazing addition to the Hidden Legacy series.

I really didn’t like Catalina the first time I read Sapphire Flames.  Amazing book, but I was on the fence about her.  The “I love you” when it came to Alessandro was out of nowhere and based on nothing, and I wasn’t feeling it.  I recently reread SF and Catalina grew on me.  I still didn’t like the “love” part of the story, and actually disliked Alessandro somewhat during the second read, but the book was still crazy good.

In Emerald Blaze all of that dislike went away.  Though it’s only been six months since the last story ended, I felt Catalina had grown.  Becoming Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, and working with Linus, did her a hell of a lot of good and I could see the changes in her.  Alessandro, as well, was a different person.  His snarky personality wasn’t completely gone, but he seemed to take life more seriously and he was actually open and communicative with Catalina.  Loved it!

The rest of the story, besides the romantic parts, was super great.  Not that they weren’t, but they weren’t the focus.  I love the creatures that IA comes up with and it blows my mind that their minds work like that! The fact that the Baylor family, as well as Alessandro, have to work out these puzzling details and use their wits and intelligence to solve whatever issues arise makes me like them and the book even more.

I can’t tell you much about it as that will completely ruin the story for you, but I highly recommend this book.  If you haven’t read this series yet you are definitely missing out!  Start with Burn for Me and don’t stop until you’re done with Emerald Blaze.  You can thank me later.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery Flynn

Posted September 18, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery FlynnReviewer: Tracy
The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery Flynn
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 330
Add It: Goodreads
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two-stars

Hadley Donavan can’t believe she has to go home to Nebraska for her sister’s wedding. She’s gonna need a wingman and a whole lot of vodka for this level of family interaction. At least her bestie agreed he’d man up and help. But then instead of her best friend, his evil twin strolls out of the airport.

If you looked up doesn’t-deserve-to-be-that-confident, way-too-hot-for-his-own-good billionaire in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of Will Holt. He’s awful. Horrible. The worst―even if his butt looks phenomenal in those jeans.
Ten times worse? Hadley’s buffer was supposed to be there to keep her away from the million and one family events. But Satan’s spawn just grins and signs them up for every. Single. Thing.

Fine. “Cutthroat” Scrabble? She’s in. She can’t wait to take this guy down a notch. But somewhere between Pictionary and the teasing glint in his eyes, their bickering starts to feel like more than just a game…

Hadley Donavan is a Nebraska girl who left the ranch to live in the “big” city.  She’s been working and loves her job, but her best friend’s brother shows up to an event that will make or break her next promotion.  They are arguing, but end up getting caught kissing in the coat check and Hadley gets fired instead of getting a promotion.

Will Holt is a man who has been hurt by gold-diggers in the past.  He is attracted to Hadley but refuses to admit it.  He’s talked himself into hating her and treats her like shit.  He is determined to get her away from his brother, Web, and prove that she’s just after his millions.

Web is supposed to be Hadley’s wedding date for her sister’s wedding in Nebraska.  She wants a buffer so that her family won’t ask too many questions and she can have an excuse to not spend too much time with them.  Unfortunately, Will ends up attending when Web gets food poisoning.  Hadley is furious but has no choice but to deal with him for the week that they are in Nebraska.

I can’t say that I read too many haters-to-lovers romances and now I know why.  I don’t like them.  I don’t like that the “heroes” always end up treating the heroines like crap and it just makes it harder for them to redeem themselves.  In this story Will really liked Hadley, but was jaded by his past and couldn’t believe that she was just friends with his brother. Because of this he was just mean to her, for most of the book (he was nice for about a chapter), I might add, and his groveling at the end didn’t redeem him in my eyes.  He was an idiot up until the last couple of pages before the epilogue.  Yeah, no, that doesn’t work for me.

I found Hadley annoying.  She did get better once she got around her family, thank heavens, but even then, I didn’t really understand her.  I get that she had portrayed her life in the city as perfect in order to prove to her family that she could make it.  I get that she didn’t want too many questions asked by her family and that’s why she brought a buffer.  But really?  Hadley’s family was amazing and not the judgmental family I expected.  They were not the type of family that needed things to be perfect – they were supportive no matter what.  So her growing up in that family but yet not knowing them at all?  Just weird.  The puzzle pieces didn’t fit for me.

Unfortunately this was not a fun read for me and I found myself skimming a lot because there was a metric ton of introspection, which just got old after a while. I think I’m in the minority when it comes to my feelings on this book so you judge for yourself whether it works for you or not.  For me, that would be not.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars


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